It was cold this morning - 43 F to be exact - and there was a heavy fog when we arrived, but during the hour we spent at the dog park, the fog lifted. You can still see a little bit here. Well, I was wearing gloves and a hat, and Tessa was in high gear, sensing the upcoming hunting season. Life is good!
The weather was gorgeous today and, trying to escape the madhouse that is Athens on a game day, we ventured deep into Greene County, to a small place named Mosquito Crossing just down the road from Veazy, somewhere between Greensboro and Sparta. Only to find - a bulldog shrine!
These past weeks have been too hot for any photo trips and instead have been marked mainly by work, pool time and World Cup Soccer. Here is Tessa getting fired up for the final Germany-Argentina. Go Germany!
Home of the famous Vidalia onion which are being harvested this time of year. Coming to a store near you, soon!
The Vidalia onions are grown on 14,000 acres in 20 counties around Vidalia, GA and owe their sweet taste to the low-sulfur soil and climate of the region. To preserve their mild taste, the use of sulfur fertilizers are kept to a minimum.
Vidalia onion seeds are planted in September in starter fields, and after eight weeks are pulled and transplanted in the production fields - by hand. Most of the onions are also still harvested by hand.
At harvest time (April/May), when the onions start to fall over, they are undercut - again by hand - and left to dry out. They are then collected, sorted, graded, packaged, and thanks to modern storage technology, can be sold through December.
Each acre produces 300 50-lbs bags of onions. That's a lot of onions. 75,000, I think.
This was taken at the North Pier at Fort Pulaski. We always walk the many trails around the Fort, a real treat. In the back you can see the Savannah River. This is a good spot to watch the big cargo ships come and go.
For a few months this spring, we added a new playmate to our gang - Greta, a German Shorthaired Pointer and accomplished grouse and pheasant hunter from Michigan. Her owners like to spend the winters in Georgia, and were grateful for the opportunity to run Greta with our dogs.
It was back to work for me today, catching up on everything that got messed up by the storm that is now but a distant memory. At 10:20 p.m. though, nature had another surprise in store for us: a 4.1 earthquake struck Edgefield, SC, and we could feel it rumble here in Athens. A little bit unsettling, even though earthquakes in the southeast so far have been pretty benign.
Finally, this morning, we woke up to a little bit of snow. Overnight, one inch of fine snow had fallen on the frozen sleet, and things were walkable. I tried on my own at first, then went back to get Tessa, and we went for a 3-hour walk all across campus and downtown Athens.
There was minimal traffic, we just spotted the occasional Jeep. Those Jeeps sure love to come out to play in the snow. On Washington Street, there was no traffic at all - usually such a busy street, it was a bit surreal to see this.
By the end of our walk, the snow was melting fast, so anyone who slept in didn't get too enjoy it as much. I am so glad we got up early!
Two days into the storm, still no snow. Just a lot of frozen sleet - to slick to walk on, so we are staying put. At least we are lucky in the sense that we did not get any freezing rain, which would have caused major power outages, here in the Athens area.
The weather team says a big winter storm is coming our way, and we will be iced in for several days. This is probably what we will do most of the time, and Tessa is practicing her I-will-keep-you-warm wrap. Although I am holding out hope that we will get to play in some snow.
Great day at the plantation today. Weather, grounds and birds were perfect. There was a twist though: this time, we let the Setters hunt, with Tessa coming in late. Very late. There was only one bird unaccounted for, and she found it in those 30 acres. How do these dogs do that? #thenoseknows
With temperatures around 60 F, we were able to make up for the lack of birds with a couple of swims. I think she was pleased with the outing.
That's right - Georgia. One of those rare snow events. It started yesterday afternoon, and the University of Georgia closed its doors at 3:30. Just a few flurries here and there, with most of the accumulations happening overnight. In the end, just a 1-2" dusting and some ice on the roads, because temperatures remained below freezing.
Atlanta, on the other hand, was plunged into utter chaos. It's one thing if UGA lets everyone go home at the same time, quite another if that happens city-wide in Atlanta, with one million folks clogging the interstates trying to get home. On ice. The salt trucks couldn't get through. I have several friends who abandoned their cars after being stuck in traffic for 5 plus hours, walking home for many miles, arriving early in the morning the next day. 24 hours later, some people were still in their cars!
Here in Athens, things were under control and quite peaceful. I took Tessa for a long walk, carefully navigating the icy patches. The snow itself was a lovely powder, and she had great fun.
Group shot of the whole gang (from left to right: Rhys, Chris, Tessa, Dewi, Paul). I cannot quite remember what went on here, we don't usually hunt THAT close. Tessa and the Setters have a different hunting style, with Tessa usually further out, the Setters closer to Paul, and Chris working the entire field.
Today, we were outsourced off the plantation onto the field on the other side of town. The boundaries of this areas are marked by barbed wire fences plus a busy road on one side, meaning, if the birds fly out of bounds, there is no way to hunt them up again. Technically. Dewi and Rhys both weaved themselves through the barbed wire after two birds, leaving some hair behind but managing without injuries, only to hit a patch of Spanish thistle; they are probably still in removal "surgery". I kept Tessa off the barbed wire and the thistles were no problem for her.
In the end, we had 10 of 12 birds, one having escaped towards the road, another alighted in a tree past the thistle patch.
The advantage of this piece of land is that it suits itself well to photography, with good, uncluttered backdrops. Still, we will request not to be put here again.
Thanks to my generous friends, there has been yet another hunt, and today, all three dogs pulled their weight and did well from beginning to end. As always, it was a joy to watch them work the fields together and honor each other's points. No struggles whatsoever. Happy.
Anticipation before a very cold (note the frozen puddle) 2-hour hunt with Rhys and Dewi. We found at least 15 of the 12 birds :) I am so proud of how she did today, but don't want to brag too much, so let me just say she not once ran off to disappear and hunt for herself. Great cooperation and focus - what a change from last season! Feeling all warm and fuzzy ... although my body is still thawing.
First hunt of the season with the Kormaniks and their two Setters Rhys and Dewi. The three dogs worked tirelessly, and when I would have called it after two hours - all birds accounted for one way or another - the dogs added 45 minutes and found several more. Tessa was not perfect but no big fails and I am happy with how she did - it was a joy to watch her and Dewi and Rhys work. I was then treated to lunch at Longhorns - what wonderful friends we have!